Friday, April 8, 2011

Boy, Girl, Wall - Magpie!

'boy girl wall' didn't always dazzle me, but Stibbard's shpeel with the magpie is ingenious.
The most important thing I learnt at tonight's performance of 'boy girl wall' is that after Monday (M) and Tuesday (T), the initials of the week spell WTF. My evening kicked off to a cracking start of a hot Butterscotch and White Chocolate muffin and a piccolo latte from Dancing Bean. Mmm. I was sitting there reading and I heard the ushers talking about the show. One of the elderly ones said something to which the lead usher remarked "Oh come on Pam, you have to like it. Everyone in Brisbane likes it". I wondered, if Pam dislikes it, what would Sam think?!

 Swearing to myself I wouldn't be bias from my new found ambassador powerz, I set into the theatre to find out. I did like it! Like every La Boite production I go to, I wanted to be swept up in the hype and love it, but I only loved about 50% of it. The rest was pretty good though. Lucas Stibbard is a really talented guy. In his one man show, he tells the story of a couple who have never met before, who meet in the last minute (literally) of the play, and fall in love. Aided by the supernatural forces of fate, the cosmos, and various pieces of furniture and architecture, this piece is not a love story, as we're reminded a couple of times; but a story about love.

There are three areas in the play - Thom's story, Alethea's story, and the story of the objects around them. He switches between all three throughout the show with varied results. Thom's story is okay, the objects are great, and Alethea's steal the show. They're all entertaining, but Thom's story has to act like a slow setup for the rest of the play, and I didn't find the humor as interesting or as quirky. Brisbane audiences have a really weird sense of humor (FYI, spelling it 'humor' because my phone keeps correcting me). At some points I wanted to punch myself in the face, but comedy in general is a hit-and-miss, so not really anyone's fault. The whole thing runs on some splendidly innovative conventions - drawing with chalk, hanging lightbulbs to signify various points in the story, and a ton of spoken motifs to not make any of the superfluous characters look like throw aways.

The play gets over 9000 times better when the shpeel with an angry magpie pops up. Alethea embarks on something of a high tension thriller, trying to avoid the wrath of the hellish beast. It's one moment in the play where everything seems to be perfectly choreographed - the projections, the props, the dialogue is ALL flawless. The magpie pops up a few times and it just steals the show each time. Other wonderful moments include the interaction of the wall, ceiling and (especially!) the floor, Alethea's obnoxious editor, and the gothic reading of the children's book. These moments are gems, and make the play live up to the constant praise the show is getting.

The lighting is good. I'm a sucker for 'stars', so when Thom's universe was projected I almost choked up because it's just such a beautiful and magical moment. The rest of the lighting is nice and subtle, simply having blue and pink lighting to represent the separation of gender. The music is okay. I wanted to smash the xylophone after a while (which was played live - kudos!) because there were only 2 (or one?) themes that were really repetitive and were very short and didn't develop. Pleasant, but considering the romantic context I couldn't stop imagining how lovely it would sound in the form of a string quartet or played slow with a flute. The wall also features a cutesy faux tragedy version of Gnossienne, which made me giggle - but I very much appreciated it!

So all in all, I liked it a lot, but I'm not going gaga over it like every other reviewer in Brisbane is. It carries Sam's seal of approval anyway. I'm not a big fan of one man shows or excessive comedy, but Stibbard is undeniably oozing with talent, you're guaranteed at least one good laugh, or you'll enjoy the story, or just marvel at the sheer ambition and innovation from Stibbard. Liked but not loved, I guess I'll be the only one. Except Pam.

You go, Pam!

Tickets for 'boy girl wall' range from $28-$48 (or if we're besties, $18), and is showing until April 17. Book by visiting La Boite's website or by calling (07) 3007 8600. Photos on this page by Al Caeiro for promotional purposes.

Monday, April 4, 2011

iPhone Murdered!/The Lost Thing Soundtrack Review

There will be no updates about the book for a while since my tools of photography committed suicide tonight. (I should probably record this to make sure I can say this in store tomorrow). I sat down on the couch and was about to look up something on the Internet (I think it was something on Blackboard), when I noticed my phone had limited mobile reception, and had no wi-fi connection. Whatever, I figured I'd just leave it and check to see if the Internet was being screwy. It was not, I figured the phone just had PMS or something. Then my phone prompts me to restore it, leaving a message that it needs to be formatted, then turns itself off. What a mofo!

I linked it up to the computer and it cooed and reassured me that it would be all alright if I restored it. Okay, so after I saved all of the photos when Calcifer was a puppy, I gave permission to wipe all the files on my phone out and download this ridiculously large file that was the most up-to-date software. It took about 40 minutes, then I wiped the phone's memory and then I went to install the new software. It then was like "hahaha just kidding, your SIM card isn't working". So I take it out and clean it, and the phone claims that I don't have my IMEB number (?), but when I plug it back in, the SIM message was replaced with a slightly 'in-your-face' apology. Something like "Sorry!" which pissed me off since it's not like the computer did this to me...


Probably not. Anyway, so I looked up the serial and it says its still valid for tech support. Cool stuff. I put it back into its little packaging and I'm taking it to the store tomorrow.

A whole 9 minutes of material!
I also had the pleasure of seeing the animated short of Shaun Tan's 'The Lost Thing' on TV this week. I missed the first five minutes, but the last 15 minutes or so were just really wonderful. I know the book from Drama in Grade 12 when we read it, and it's wonderful to note that Tan's illustrations flow beautifully and aren't compromised or cheapened by the adaptation to the short. It's charming and whimsical, with the quirky characters and objects perfectly illustrated to provoke the imagination. I hope I can find it in JB soon!

The music compliments the movie perfectly. I've not heard of Michael Yezerski before, but he's composed several projects including 'The Black Balloon' (which I was planning to watch tomorrow, but damn this iPhone...). His score for 'The Lost Thing' is regretably, almost criminally, too short. But then again, that's quite fitting for the nature of the movie. It's regrettable, because it just emphasises the whimsy and charm of the movie. The longest track, 'Utopia', is a fusion of a gorgeous strings, acoustic guitars, and electronic wefts (which I'm sure are all computer generated). The masterful blend provokes such a strong sense of nostalgia, and its playful nature is so uplifting - I just adore this track.

The rest of the album consists of little tracks which span for about 1 minute (give or take around 5 seconds either way). The entire soundtrack clocks in a whopping 9 minutes. Each track employs the same quirky and playful nature of the others. All in all, it's a delight to listen to. The soundtrack is a real gem, even if it provides the same amount of airplay time as a comerical break on TV. On a side note, it sounds a lot like David Megarrity's work with 'Sonic Loom'. Really wonderful work.

Anyway, that's all from me at the moment. Goodbye until tomorrow.

On a side note, you can listen to 'Utopia' by Michael Yezerski in all its glory here. The entire album can be purchased for just $2.99 on his site, or for $4.99 on iTunes.